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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eleven Things Every Independent Artist Should Work On

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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8. Learn To Properly Use Social Networks This is about to turn into some sort of rant so follow me. Every day, I log onto to Facebook and Twitter to witness rapper after rapper use it the wrong way. My right to showcase my opinion about famous rappers on Twitter died when I decided to join the industry they are all in control of.

Twitter has a widespread reach and you truthfully have no idea who's watching you. It's cool to follow Lil Wayne and see what he's tweeting about but it's smarter to follow his management, stylist, PR team, etc. There are at least 30 plus people attached to any celebrity you can think of. If you're on Twitter or Facebook acting like a fan boy or tweeting negative things about these people you are an idiot. I mean, if your goal is to stay on your couch tweeting forever then you're good. If you have the balls to live and die with these opinions then you're good. I realized along time ago everyone in the industry is connected. Managers are fired and rehired by different camps. A&R's leave one label and go work for the next. These relationships are all maintained over the course of time. You are not in the club yet, so it's probably not a smart move to say something unsavory about the people that run it.

You're not in the game yet so none of that really matters. Rappers don't blog or say negative ish about other rappers unless they are ready for the problems that will follow. Remember once again, whether you know it or not, you are now officially in the same industry as Jay-Z and Eminem. They run this industry, and you don't. I would never go to work and write a paragraph about how my boss can't dress. I'd never go to work stand up on the break room table and yell out, "F%^k this place." People do these things and expect some sort of promotion to be gifted to them.

By not watching what you say on Twitter this is exactly what you are doing. Spamming your songs and making stats about "doing it big" only make you appear to be an idiot. Who cares if you dropped a song on Facebook today and posted it on everyone's Wall. Spamming will definitely help you lose more potential fans than it will gain you. Social Networking gives you a chance to showcase your personality and give the people something besides the music to attach themselves to. It's cool to use this tool to promote yourself, but do it the right way: start a fan page, read about industry insiders and follow them on Twitter. You can use Twitter to reach out to artists in different cities. Promote your shows creatively by telling the fans what to expect. I let my fans do the spamming for me. If the music is good enough, and the campaign behind it is large enough, the fans will generate energy for you.

9. No One Cares About Your Music A friend of mine told me this ages ago, and it stuck with me. No one in the world cares about your music like you do. As artists, we like to complain, gripe and cry about being slept on. We all feel unappreciated and we think our first free mixtape deserves a Grammy. This feeling isn't unique to you. You're not the first artist that thinks his/her music will change the world, yet no one gets it. Stop crying and do everything under the sun to get your name out there. Work hard, sleep, wake up and work even harder.

10. Street Teaming You need a street team of some sort. If you can't afford to hire one then transform yourself into the street team and handle your business. I have a hired street team, and I also get out in the streets and handle business on my own. You need an army if you want to gain any traction. Ask your friends and family to put in work for you. Pass out flyers, hang up posters, go to club and pass out CDs to people as they leave. If you allow yourself to be ignored then you will indeed remain ignored. You need a crew of individuals who are ready to beat up the pavement and promote your music.

Recruit anyone you can and turn them into a soldier offer them special incentives like free entry to your shows as rewards for being a part of the team. I spent time on regional street teams for Atlantic Records, Interscope and Universal. This taught me how to properly work my own projects. It also helped me build relationships within the music scene that I otherwise would not have formulated. I strongly advise everyone to work for another person's street prior to starting your own. The amount of knowledge you'll gain from this situation will change your life. Paul Wall started out as a street team member and used his experience in this sector to his own benefit. I think every rapper needs to do a bid as a street-team member.

11. Learn about Contracts and Percentages There are 3,000 different types contracts in this business. First of all, you need to have access to a lawyer after your career reaches a certain point. You can download a standardized recording contract from the Internet and read over it. I suggest you study it and learn about the language of the contract.

There are a million rappers, but unfortunately hardly a fraction of them are educated about the makings of the industry. I know this might come as a shocker to you, but uneducated people do not rule the world. Most of the highest paid rappers in the industry are actually college educated. Yeah, your favorite gangster rapper has a college degree. My point is no one is going to give a million dollars to a unapologetic idiot if they don't have to. A&R's don't give a damn about your YouTube views. You're not special to them. They don't care about how many blogs posted your songs. They care about dollars and cents. The bottom line is they work for someone and that someone is not you. The entire industry is designed to protect the interests of everyone except the actual artist. Learn about your publishing rights and take advantage of the incentives offered to you through owning your publishing. Use the Internet to your advantage, by Googling a standardized recording contract. These are the types of things you should study in your spare time.

I'm not filthy rich. I'm not a marketing genius. But I do believe nothing can stop you from deciding to work harder than everyone else. I see the potholes in my personal and grind and it motivates me to do better. We have the opportunity to become whatever we desire. We absolutely have to work at it like we've never worked at anything else. Nothing is guaranteed, but I sincerely believe hard work finds a way to pay off. Everything happens for a reason, the longer we live the more grow and learn.

God bless every artist out there with the hopes of spreading their music to the masses. It's not going to be easy. If you work hard and create a plan that makes sense you can do it. Everything starts with the music but you need to know when to branch out and do other things in the name of the music. I write this blog once week with this very thing on my mind.

It's about going the extra mile and doing what everyone else won't do. It's about going all over St. Louis, putting flyers and posters everywhere you can. It's about putting something unique together and giving it a chance to come alive. People aren't willingly fans of new music. You have to find a way to force yourself on to them without scaring them away. Everything in our lives is moving 300 miles per hour so keep your eyes and ears open. The industry is constantly changing so be aware of this and try to peaceful exist within the madness of the business. Your best bet is to be proactive and plan ahead of time at all cost. You need money to fund your goals. I don't word dreams because dreams don't come true and America's last great African-American dreamer was shot to death on a balcony.

So my motto is forget a dream, set some goals and go for it. Learn everything you can being dumb won't cut it. Wack rappers succeed because they are often smarter than the people with talent.

I read an article from Beanie Sigel a while ago. He said write a thousand raps because you'll need them all when you get signed. I took that advice and kept it with me. You can never read or know too much when it comes to the music industry. Everything you read about the business will have something that you can utilize for the rest of your career if you're smart about it. I research everything I can, including names of managers, studios and label employees. You have to become a machine if you want to win. I don't know it all but I'm willing to learn on a constant basis and this is the key to survival.

Picks of the week

Streetza Ria - Cold World (mixtape) Snipes x BC -19 In My Nina (video) Alley Boy -I Say Nato Caliph -Add On Adultfur - Blazertone , Lonely Love Scriptz N Screwz -On 10, Brick (dope animated video) Pusha T, Kanye West -New God Flow Indiana Rome feat Bryant Stewart - Hol Up Chief Keef - I Don't Know Dem, Everyday, Sosa Trixie -Little Miss Incredible 2-

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